Robbins Offers Terms for County Water Deal
Robbins officials have agreed to lease the town’s reservoir to Moore County along with a number of other conditions as part of the county’s search for a long-term water source.
The town Board of Commissioners Thursday night asked attorney Doug Gill to create a proposal for the county.
This is the second proposal Robbins has sent the county since its initial offer. Mayor Lonnie English said it is time to move forward one way or the other.
“We have been talking about it for five years,” English said. “Are we going to sit here and talk about it for five more years? It is town water per se because it is on our land.”
The proposal would include several conditions:
Robbins leases its reservoir, as is, to the County for 40 years.
The county renovates and maintains the reservoir.
The county pays Robbins a set price for each 10,000 gallons that the county withdraws or permits to be withdrawn from the reservoir.
The county provides transmission facilities that permit the transfer of treated county water into the Robbins water system.
Upon request by Robbins, the county provides to Robbins up to 150,000 gallons per day of treated water at no cost and additional water up to 400,000 gallons per day at cost of production.
The county does not provide water to any entity for use in fracking in the area where an aquifer from which Robbins draws water is located.
Robbins maintains control of any and all permits.
Robbins has an option to purchase the county treatment plant and system.
Gill stressed that nothing in the list would be a binding offer to the county other than that Robbins is willing to lease its reservoir. A number of items were altered during the meeting at suggestions from commissioners.
Kevin Stewart proposed an amendment that added the 150,000 gallons per day condition. An earlier form had Robbins paying “a rate no greater than the lowest bulk rate” the county would charge any customer. The rate was changed by his amendment to “cost of production” as Moore County Commissioner Nick Picerno suggested during last month’s informational joint meeting of both boards.
Gill will work up a final version of these talking points and submit it to Interim Town Manager Jeff Sheffield for review before Sheffield sends it to the county board.
Stewart said he offered his proposed amendments because Robbins needs to maintain control of the town’s assets.
“The only asset that is being leased is the reservoir,” Gill said.
The reservoir has one key value to any county water system plan. It is in the Cape Fear basin fed by the Deep River.
“If they can work with us, they don’t have to cross the interbasin line,” Commis-sioner Joey Boswell said. “To do that would cost them millions. If they work with us they don’t. If they want it bad enough, they will pay for it.”
“Joey is right,” Commissioner Rocky Davis said. “That is what they are trying to do: keep it in the Cape Fear.”
State regulations limit how much water can be transferred from one river basin to another. Much of the southern end of Moore County is in a different basin.
Earlier in the meeting, the board agreed on terms of offers to obtain options on three test well sites. Two are on Standard Mineral Co. property and one is on Moore County school board land. Five test wells are to be drilled to see whether sufficient quantities of good water would be available from production wells. Two would be on land already owned by the town.
The board also approved accepting U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) funding for the new Robbins Fire Station Project, and papers were signed.
The loan amount is $257,200 repayable over a period not exceeding 40 years. That loan provides town portions of the total cost of $1,579,800 — the rest being forgivable under terms of the Rural Development grant.
Robbins has never had its own fire station. The new site is across the railroad tracks from town hall behind buildings on Middleton Street. Construction is expected to begin in late summer.
The board called a worksession meeting of the board for May 21 at 6:30 p.m. in Town Hall.
Contact John Chappell at (910) 783-5841 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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